Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Rocaille Swatches: Ten Taupe Eyeshadows

Taupe is probably the shade I'm most drawn to in eyeshadow, and I have amassed quite a collection. All taupe eyeshadows that I own seem unique to me, obviously, but I guess you could find some approximate dupes below and save yourself some pennies. I've tried to make the photos as color accurate as possible for you, and I think they turned out pretty close. Enjoy!

Benefit Creaseless Cream Eyeshadow in Skinny Jeans (on the right) is obviously not a taupe; what was I thinking?

1. Barry M Dazzle Dust in 'Mushroom' (no. 51): a frosty medium taupe purple (more photos here).
2. Wet'n'Wild Lid Shade from the 'Silent Treatment' trio: a pearly cool medium taupe purple.
3. Wet'n'Wild Lid Shade from the 'We're Blasting Off' Limited Edition 'Dream Weavers' Collection trio: a pearly light to medium taupe lilac (more photos here and an eye look here).

4. MAC Veluxe Pearl Eyeshadow in 'Satin Taupe': a pearly medium to dark purplish taupe.
5. Inglot Pearl Eyeshadow in no. 402: a pearly medium silvery taupe (more photos here).
6. e.l.f. Custom Eyeshadow in 'Moondust': a satin medium brown taupe (more photos here).
7. Accessorize Taupe Shade from the 'High Maintenance' Baked Duo: a shimmery medium to dark silvery taupe (more photos here).

8. Urban Decay Shimmer/Metallic Eyeshadow in 'Toasted': a shimmery rosy brown with a tinge of taupe (ok, maybe not really).
9. Cover Girl Eye Enhancers Single Eyeshadow in 'Tapestry Taupe': a shimmery light to medium taupe silver with silver glitter.
10. Urban Decay Eyeshadow in 'Sidecar' from the Naked Palette: a shimmery medium golden taupe with silver glitter.

Well, I hope this was helpful, or at least fun to some of you like-minded taupe fanatics! What is your favorite taupe eyeshadow?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

FOTD: Temps Du Décollage

I'm not being all f(r)ancy-schmancy on you, it's just that I really prefer the French name of the Wet'n'Wild We're Blasting Off eyeshadow trio from the LE Dream Weavers collection; more than that, I think it's genius. I asked you a couple posts ago whether you'd like to see a look featuring these shadows, and while there was no reply, I've decided to do it anyway. This is also inspired by the Mite Perroni for NYX look that Brunette's Heart just recreated on her blog.

I've used all eyeshadows in the trio, the matte pink on the inner half of the lid, a mixture of purple taupe and sparkly aubergine/black in the crease, and the same color as a liner on the upper lash line. I've also patted some of the taupe to transition the dark shade of the crease into the pink a bit better. For highlight, I dabbed some matte cream eyeshadow in the tearduct area and lastly finished off with a coat of black mascara and Benefit Eye Bright on the lower waterline.

On the cheeks, I swirled some Bourjois Délice de Soleil bronzer just above the cheekbone, followed with NYX Mauve on the apples; on the second thought, I would have used something more fuschia though. The lips are NYX Mega Shine Lipgloss in Dolly Pink.

I have to admit that my hands just itched to retouch the many blemishes I've been fighting this past couple of weeks, which are also the reason for a lack of posts featuring more adventurous looks. I haven't been feeling it recently on the blog front, and all in all August was a rather difficult month for me. I'm seeing the light at the end of the tunnel though, so fingers crossed for some progress! I also promise to announce the winner of the Apothica giveaway very soon. How's August been for you, my dears?

Monday, August 22, 2011

NOTD: Opal Frostbite

I'm not sure what came over me, but I guess that in my longing for fall shades I went straight to winter hues. Because it's what this manicure reminds me of: wintery nights with snow glistening in the moonlight. That, or a figure skater's outfit.

I've swatched China Glaze Frostbite before on this blog and it's still one of my favorite pick-me-up shades. The color is just so vibrant and perfect, I so love this shade of blue! The application's a breeze too. This time however, I've decided to jazz it up even further by applying an ombre-esque glitter effect with the help of Sinful Colors Opal Glitter (yes, the name is rather self-exaplanatory).

Indirect natural daylight

I've wanted to achieve a gradual intensity of glitter starting from none at the nail bed and a whole lot at the tip, but I guess my Opal Glitter wasn't really up for the job due to not enough glitter particles in the polish. I had to apply 4 coats, and the effect is still not very visible. Oh well, does anyone have good cheap glitter nail polish recommendations? As you can see in the photo, my topcoat was also playing tricks on me and the surface of the nail is far too uneven and not shiny enough.

Direct sunlight

I think I'll continue with my glitter explorations, this was so much fun even despite the aforementioned shortcomings. What is your favorite glitter nail design?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Rocaille Redes: Styling Short Hair

One of the reasons I hacked my long hair off last December was that, honestly, I could not be bothered to style it. I loved texturized beachy waves look but was never able to achieve it: my hair would get oily at the roots, dry at the ends and just lay flat on my scalp. It was just a mess I would pull back into a ponytail and try to forget about.

The situation did change with a short haircut. Most days, I was forced to style it somehow to avoid bed head (not the cute kind my husband tends to get) and it was also so much quicker than styling long hair. Through trial and error, I found some products that work really well with my straight fine, but abundant hair, so if your style is short and you're looking for something new to incorporate into your routine, stay tuned.

1. I wash my hair every day/ every two days with TIGI Bed Head Urban Antidotes Damage Level 2 Recovery Shampoo. The shampoo is aimed at dry, damaged hair, which my hair is definitely not. Here's the trick though: I don't condition my hair. My tresses being oily, the conditioner would weigh down the short hair, and with frequent visits to the salon, I've yet to see any damage to the ends. Plus, the TIGI shampoo is also a hit with the Mister :)

2. When I remember (which is not often), I spritz some TRESemme 24 Hour Body Root Boosting Spray/ massage in some TRESemme Naturals Lightweight Mousse into damp, towel dried hair. I only use a little bit, mostly at the front section to give it more body and texture for further styling. I then go on my day (or night), letting my hair air dry, which only takes about 30-40 minutes.

3. Now, the fun part: styling. My absolute favorite for styling my pixie is the Ojon Tunu Elastik Flexible Finishing Paste, partly because it smells like... chai tea. Awesome! The product contains natural latex and when you rub it between your fingers, you can see lots of tiny fibers appearing (see the photo below). After warming it in my hands, I massage it mostly onto the roots, avoiding the fringe, which gets oily the fastest. I like to have my hair voluminous on top and sleek on the sides, a bit like a fauxhawk, and this product is perfect for that without making your hair scrunchy, stiff or greasy.

If I still feel like adding more volume, I reach for Aussie Aussome Volume Maximum Hold Hair Spray and spray it directly on the roots for added lift. And, on the second day hair, I still like to use my TRESemme Freshstart Dry Shampoo, it gives a lot (and I mean A LOT) of volume and not much of a residue, provided that you brush it out well.

Here you have it! It may look complicated in writing, but really, I don't spend on my hair probably more than 10 minutes a day, including washing. I hope this helped some of you, lovely short haired gals! Let me know in the comments your favorite products for styling short hair.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Review: Bath & Body Works Paris Amour Fragrance Mist

I've gone a bit fragrance crazy recently, mostly under the influence of Victoria from EauMG. While I can't really justify another serious perfume purchase given the size of my collection, I decided to make use of a Bath & Body Works coupon and basically got their newest release, Paris Amour, for free.

First of all, I really do like the packaging. Yes, the spray bottle is made of plastic, but it's quite elegant in its simplicity and the functionality is great, it fits well in my small hand for a quick spray and the lid doesn't come off when least expected, which is especially important for something you might want to carry in your (beach) bag for top-ups.

Now, onto the most important aspect: the fragrance itself. Paris Amour is described as a romantic, bubbly blend of white tulips and pink champagne. Obviously, the description conjures a beautiful image, but does the fragrance do it justice?

In a way, it does. The simplicity of the combination comes through the fragrance, and what I mostly get from the mist is a refreshing, feminine floral without much of a body. The champagne note is rather subtle, but playful, and I swear I get some red fruit from it as well, but I might be under the impression that this somehow plays off Yves Saint Laurent Parisienne. To be honest, it's a bit too sweet to convey the tulip note faithfully as it lacks some of that water green aspect, but hey, it's a freakin' fragrance mist from Bath & Body Works. In comparison to other tulip fragrances, it's much fresher and zesty than Tocca Giulietta, and much younger than Avon Incandessence, which interestingly enough I happened to love when I was 13. Paris Amour dries down to a more creamy, barely there vanilla musk sort of affair.

All in all, I do like this. I bought the mist intending to wear it on the stay-at-home days, and it does fulfill its purpose. In terms of longevity, I'd say I get around 1-2 hours wear, and the scent is quite delicate throughout. What baffles me is why BBW chose to release Paris Amour now, it strikes me as much more of a spring fragrance... but I still bought it, right?

What is your favorite scent from Bath & Body Works... or a favorite floral?

P.S. Don't forget to enter my $25 Apothica Giftcard giveaway, it ends very soon!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Haul of Sorts

A couple posts back, I did mention that I picked up a few goodies in California, or, more precisely, Petaluma Outlet Stores. The CCO wasn't very impressive make-up wise compared to the one in Tulalip, but I still managed to find something I liked... and then I scored some other finds here and there as well.

Starting with skincare, I went a bit crazy for sunscreen this summer. I'm still favoring mineral, as natural and simple as possible products, so with this in mind I picked up two sunscreens to carry with me. The California Baby Sunblock Stick SPF 30+ is perfect for the areas on my body where I tend to forget to put on sunscreen, as well as for topping up. The Peter Thomas Roth Oily Problem Skin Instant Mineral SPF 30 is what I use on my face to reapply during the day.

Now that we got skincare out of the way, make-up goodies! The two Pop Beauty products in the photos, Eye Cake in Bright Greens and Tan in a Pan in Butterscotch Bronze, were kindly sent to me by Delyteful Speaks as a prize in her giveaway. I'm not a great fan of green eyeshadow on me, but this I can work with! The bronzer is fantastic and comes with a beautiful powder highlighter. I also picked up another bottle of Wet'n'Wild nail polish, this time in amazing duochrome Gray's Anatomy shade - a bit like MAC Vex in a polish form! I decided to stock up on concealer too, and ordered Becca Compact Concealer in Sherbet; can't wait to start using it!

Last but not least, my little California haul: I found this amazing Stila E! Live from the Red Carpet palette at a Saks Off Fifth Avenue store and just had to have it! It gives Urban Decay Naked Palette a serious run for the money. It came with the Stila Lip Glaze in Guava, which I have to admit I'm not a big fan of - is it supposed to be so gloopy? At the CCO, I got my first ever Lancome Juicy Tubes in Rio Mango for $5. It's practically clear, rather thick and smells more of fruit candy than mango, but I still reach for it a lot.

If you're wondering about the different background, it's another California find: a vintage Oscar de La Renta silk scarf from the 80s I bought at a secondhand store in Sonoma. This color blue is my personal favorite and I think the scarf is simply beautiful; plus, it's the first designer piece in my wardrobe! I hope you enjoyed the haul and please let me know in the comments which products you would like to read a review of. Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Rocaille of the Day: The Perfect Summer Dress

I'm not sure if I professed my love for dresses before on this blog, but I do love how easy they are to wear; you just throw them on, add some accessories and you're out the door. I don't wear my collection of frocks nearly as often as I'd like in this climate, but even in Washington we sometimes get sunny weekends!

I scored this number on sale at Promod, a store that I possibly miss the most here in the US. The dress is everything I love in a summer garment: beautiful light fabric, simple design, flattering and comfortable. I paired it with last year's flip flops, an H&M leather belt and my trusty purple sunglasses.

Well, there's nothing particularly special about this outfit, but I guess I just wanted to show you my favorite dress of the season. What have you been wearing lately?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Overview: Spot Treatments

What a better time to give you a little overview of all different spot treatments I have in my posession than when I am particularly spotty? See, there must be at least one good thing about the mess happening on my face lately, and that is to throw in my two cents about different pimple fighters so you could choose something which actually works for a change.

Before I start, I'd like to recommend great skincare videos by the fabulous Dr. Schultz over at DermTV because I'm going to throw in some TERMINOLOGY here to make matters more unnecessarily complicated precise. My overview will focus on key acne-fighting over-the-counter ingredients and how exactly they work for my skin, with specific products given as examples.

1. Benzoyl Peroxide (Bioelements Breakout Control Emergency Blemish Lotion). One of the two most common anti-acne ingredients, Benzoyl Peroxide works as an oxidizing agent on the acne-causing bacteria and increases cell turnover to help prevent blocked pores. The downside is that it is fairly drying and irritating, plus once you stop using it, your acne will come right back as it doesn't increase your body's ability to fight the bacteria. On my skin, it works best for tiny whiteheads on my forehead (mostly the result of too much head scratching) and small pustules and doesn't do much more than dry the spot out on bigger hormonal cysts.

2. Salicylic Acid & other AHA/BHA/LHA acids (La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo Corrective and Unclogging Anti-Imperfection Care). Salicylic and other acids fight acne by encouraging the sloughing of dead skin cells, thus unclogging your pores. Downside, it is quite irritating and might also feel drying, in which case I would recommend switching to glycolic acid. On my skin, various acids work best on non-inflammatory acne (whiteheads and blackheads) and also help fade post-acne scarring tremendously.

3. Sulfur (Mario Badescu Drying Lotion and Drying Cream). From my research, it seems that science is still not sure how exactly sulfur helps fight acne, other than it might have a similar keratolytic effect to salicylic acid. In my experience, the MB Drying Lotion works best on inflammatory pustules (with a white head), while Drying Cream performs better on papules (no head) and cysts. Actually, both of these products are a bit more complex and contain a number of anti-acne ingredients, such as calamine, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, but for clarity's sake I bundled them up here. A little tip: don't bother buying the full-size Drying Cream, I have had this sample for 4 months and it's not even half empty.

4. Herbal Remedies (Angel Face Botanicals Blemish Soother). This here is a 75% organic serum containing jojoba oil and a mix of essential oils: tea tree, lavender, sage and bergamot. I'm planning on writing a separate post on natural acne remedies, but decided to give this store-bought concotion a little review here. This actually works quite well on bigger cysts as it soothes the inflammation without excessive dryness. I also like to put it on any marks other blemishes might have left behind. It's worth a try, but to be completely honest I do think you can make your own pimple potion at home by blending a base oil of your choice with a couple favorite essential oils.

I hope this short overview has maybe given you an idea of what could work on your skin without resorting to the trip to a dermatologist, which is recommended if your acne is anything worse than mild to moderate. What are your favorite spot treatments?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Review: CUICU Eyeshadow Palette

I'd always been curious about Asian make-up with its cute designs and great formulations, but too confused really to venture out and actually get something. So when I was given the opportunity to review the CUICU Soft & Shiny Eyeshadow Palette ($6.30), I thought it'd be somewhat of a foothold for me in the great world of Asian cosmetics and I'd be able to experience what the fuss is all about.

CUICU Eyeshadow Palette is definitely a well-designed, fun neutral palette. The plastic packaging feels very sturdy, houses a small mirror inside (quite like the Laura Geller Blush-n-Brighten compacts), two sponge-tip applicators and, of course, 5 eyeshadows pressed in the diamond shape. How cute!

All shades are neutral and shimmery, with the exception of the bottom shade (it seems to have some gold sparkles running through it but swatches matte). And yes, true to their name, the eyeshadows are 'soft & shiny'. They're smooth, pigmented and quite long-lasting. No complaints on the formula front from me!

Well, ok, my only complaint would be the shade selection. Firstly, I really wish there were more matte eyeshadows in the palette, and secondly, that copper really seems quite out of place, even though the shadow itself is beautiful. I'm also not a huge fan of the pearly white highlight, I was hoping for something more subtle... Oh yes, I am nit-picking now.

See how nicely they swatch? My favorites are actually the deep olive green (similar to Urban Decay Darkhorse), the antique gold (Wet'n'Wild Dancing in the Clouds trio top shade) and the mid-tone matte brown, for which I couldn't find a dupe in my collection but kind of reminds me of caffe latte.

Here's an eye look I attempted using all five shades in the palette. While I'm not particularly happy with how this one turned out, it demonstrates how saturated and smooth the colors are. I'm actually so impressed with the quality of this little palette that I think I need to investigate Asian make-up further. What are your favorite Asian brands?

Disclaimer: The eyeshadow palette was provided to me for review consideration by I am not compensated to feature it on my blog nor am I affiliated with the brand. All opinions are my own and 100% honest, as always!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

My Favorite Sunless Tans

Since my obsession with skincare and make-up started, I've learnt to embrace my pale, freckled skin and now would never fry in the UV rays to get a dark bronzed skin like I used to. Still, each summer I crave just that subtle hint of color which goes so well with satured fruity hues of the season. In order to achieve that, I rely on my trusty sunless tanners, Yves Rocher Tiare Moisturizing Lotion and Xen-Tan Deep Bronze Luxe Weekly Self-Tan in Dark.

Yves Rocher Self-Tanner Moisturizing Lotion Face & Body with Tiare (Tahitian Gardenia) is a great gradual tanner I like to use on my body. It's a quite thin white lotion with a beautiful floral scent with a hint of coconut, perfect for the summer. The product is packed with moisturizing ingredients: glycerin, coconut oil and sesame oil as well as soothing blue agave, anti-aging mangiferin and of course tiare flower extract. It is a bit too sticky to be used on the face, but does a great job of prepping my legs and shoulders for the summer dresses. The shade of the tan is very realistic on me, quite warm but not orangey; as for the DHA smell, yes, it is there after approx. 3 hours, but I've yet to find a self-tanner which doesn't have it at all.

Xen-Tan Deep Bronze Luxe Weekly Self-Tan with Instant Color for Face & Body in Dark (sample tube pictured above) is well-known among beauty fanatics, and for a reason. This deliciously creme brulee scented lotion imparts a wonderful sunny glow without streaks or splotches and is also enriched with glycerin, hazel oil, jojoba oil and peanut oil for hydration as well as aloe vera and vitamins C & E for added skincare benefits. As lazy as I am, I have to say that the vanillary smell is a definite incentive when applying. I use this for my face mixed in with a dollop of a moisturizer to dilute the color a bit on my light complexion (thanks for the tip, Musing on Beauty!). The shade is somewhat more olive-toned than the Yves Rocher, but still works very well with my skin.

So far my only gripe with these two is that with quite intense exfoliation that my skin requires at the moment, the effect these two product gives never lasts more than 2-3 days, which practically means I don't bother with them on a daily basis, though I like having them in my stash for those times when I need them. What are your favorite sunless tanners?